By year elections often foretell electoral shifts during the general election. For example Democrats picked up safe Republican seats in Louisiana, Illinois, and upstate New York as President Bush’s popularity plummeted.
Two Congressional elections today may, or may not, forecast the November 2012 elections result. Two “safe” seats, a Republican seat in Nevada and a Democratic District in New York, are in play.
Nevada is presumed to remain Republican so New York’s 9th Congressional District is attracting attention. The district overlaps Brooklyn and Queens. It is 30% Jewish and has voted Democrats to Congress since 1923. It’s been a blue district for 88 years.
The disgraced Anthony Weiner recently held the seat. He was preceded by his mentor, Senator Charles Schumer.
The Democratic candidate is David Weprin, scion of a politically prominent family and an orthodox Jew. Bob Turner, the Republican, is a 70 year old Catholic, whose claim to fame and fortune is that he produced the Jerry Springer Show.
Polls show independents, and perhaps Jewish voters, breaking for the Republican.
Assemblyman Weprin has run a poor campaign, perhaps because he is a carpet bagger who does not live in the 9th District.
Turner has run an inspired campaign, attacking the Assemblyman on local issues, and President Obama’s policies, especially to Israel. The President is in danger of losing the Jewish vote in 2012.
The long term implications of the election are small. New York lost 2 Congressional seats in the 2010 census. New York’s 9th District is presumed to one of the reapportionment casualties so whoever wins will be a short termer.
However, the short term political consequences will be dramatic. The election will reaffirm the 2010 election results. If the 9th, the bluest of blue Congressional Districts bleeds red, then few Democratic seats can be viewed as “safe” in 2012. The public employee unions will be politically weakened. Democrats nationally, especially Blue Dogs and Senators running for reelection, will stumble over each other as they run away from the President. The Democrats will accept any campaign funds he raises for them, but avoid him publicly. His proposals will be dead on arrival, even in the Democratic Senate.
The Democrats cannot afford to lose this election. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has poured $500,000 into the election. The teachers union is mounting a get out the vote campaign.
The Republican has two powerful allies in his campaign. Both former mayor Ed Koch and the New York Post have endorsed him.
The election should not even be close. Congressman Weiner defeated Turner in 2010 in a landslide 61-39% margin. But then again, Scott Brown never should have won Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts.